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Falling in Love with Jerry Pinkney: African American History Month

Thinking about African American History Month, I went through a range of topics–notable biographies of African Americans (Hand in Hand: Ten Black Men who Changed America is a particularly great new one) or issues in African American history or contemporary life (like We’ve Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children’s March by Cynthia Levinson) or children in Children’s books (like The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats, it was especially tempting to write about him because of the current exhibition at San Francisco’s Contemporary Jewish Museum). But when the Caldecott Awards were announced last week, I was reminded of The Lion and the Mouse, the 2010 Caldecott Award winning book by Jerry Pinkney, and I knew I had found my subject.

Falling in love with a specific author is one the joys of reading and Jerry Pinkney’s stunning illustrations make him an easy author to fall for (can you tell I’m thinking ahead to Valentine’s Day too?).

Pinkney has a long list of accomplishments and awards–in addition to the 2010 award, he has five Caldecott Honors and five Coretta Scott King Awards, to name a few. Once you’ve fallen for Pinkney I recommend reading interviews with him, reviews of his work, and his Caldecott Award acceptance speech: he is thoughtful and inspiring and has a lot to share about art, children, race in Children’s books, and creativity.

But, for now, just appreciate some of these images:

And, here he is himself:


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